The Catacombs
  • Catacomb of st. Gennaro


    The catacomb of S. Gennaro is composed of two layers that do not overlap. The original nucleus coagulated around the pre-existent “lower vestibule”, by expanding it between the late II and early III Century. After the III Century, new areas were developed, the “ambulacra” of the lower catacomb according to a pattern of extensive excavation and horizontal development.
    The upper catacomb knew different stages of development: its origin is in the ancient tomb named "the upper vestibule”, known mainly for its frescoes of the vault of the late II Century. The main elements of the upper catacomb are the small "Crypt of the Bishops' and the majestic "basilica maior "(a true underground basilica). The former, located just above the tomb of St. Gennaro, is dedicated to the memory of the first 14 bishops of Naples, the latter is the result of extensive transformation of neighboring environments created when, in late V Century, was moved the tomb of St. Gennaro. The "basilica maior" has three naves, contains numerous frescoes (IV - VI Century) and is deeply cut into the stone.

  • Catacomb of st. Severo


    The catacomb is related to the memory of Bishop Severus, who chose this place for his burial. Of the early church today nothing more than a small cubiculum and hints of a mysterious formulas remain, that can be seen just in the basement of a disorderly and irrational urbanization which covered the entire area of Sanità District.
    Threee arcosolia on three sides of the cubiculum remain: the central and left, are still partly intact and preserve the painted pattern; the right one is now almost completely destroyed. The central arcosolium portrays five characters; at the centre there is a young nobleman, the characters are left to be identified in St. Peter and St. Gennaro, those on the right are S. Paul and S. Severe. In the IX Century  the relics of St. Severus were transferred to the Basilica of St. Giorgio Maggiore.

  • Catacomb of st. Gaudioso


    From the Basilica of St. Mary of Sanità one can reach the catacombs of the African S. Gaudioso, who arrived in Naples in A.D. 439, because of the persecution of the Arian King of the Vandals, Geiseric.
    The translation of the relics of St. Gaudioso to the city (IX Century) caused the abandonment of the place until XVI Century, when an image of the Madonna and Child dating back to V-VI Century, was rediscovered. The image, which is the oldest of Naples, is currently in the Basilica.
    A distinguishing element is the burial of the dead skulls recessed into the walls of the ambulatory and the opening a new area below the catacombs, for the realization of so-called "seditoi", or "gutters", seats carved into the tufa on which the dead were laid to dry before being placed in an common ossuary or a private grave.
    On either side of the ambulatory open cubicles with valuable paintings arcosolia containing Christian symbols like the lamb, the peacock and grapes (V Century).